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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

David Usop 'resting temporarily' as Sarawak coach in MSL

Struggling Sarawak will face league leaders Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) without their head coach David Usop, who has decided to "rest" himself following dismal performances in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).

Assistant coach Pengiran Bala will now take charge for the away match against JDT on Saturday, with the Crocs in desperate need of a win as they hover just two points above the relegation zone.

"We respect the decision from David Usop, who wants to 'rest temporarily' from taking charge of the Sarawak team," said a statement from Sarawak FA.

"We want to thank him for his services in keeping the team in the MSL before this. Pengiran Bala will take charge of the team until further notice."

Usop's "rest" is believed to have stemmed from intense pressure from Sarawak fans who want him to step down after only three league wins in 2017.

The final straw came after Sarawak suffered a 3-1 defeat to Felda United on Tuesday, which was compounded by a red card to defender Hairul Mokhtar.

One of Sarawak's biggest issues is their profligacy up front.

Their 15 goals is the second lowest tally in the MSL, and only bottom-placed Penang faring worse, with 10.

The management's decision to release Mark Hartmann in May also raised eyebrows, considering the Philippines striker had scored seven goals in the first half of the season.

Pengiran will have a tough ask to lift his team from a three-game losing streak against in-form JDT, who have won four of their last five games.

Victory for the Southern Tigers, who beat Pahang on Tuesday, would inch them closer to a fourth consecutive league title.

For Sarawak, defeat at Larkin Stadium would deepen their relegation woes with only six games remaining.

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